Schirmer’s Music Prints Lives On After 260 Years
While most of us read sheet music on the tablet, the novelty of reading music on print continues to transcend how music was brought to life since 1861, the year that American classical music publishing company, G. Schirmer, was founded.
Perhaps the oldest active music publisher in the United States, Schirmer began publishing sheet music for sale and rental, and from the very beginning represented European music publishers such as the Music Sales Affiliates ChesterNovello, Breitkopf & Hartel, Sikorski and many Russian and former Soviet composers’ catalogs in North America.
Schirmer, in 1964, acquired Associated Music Publishers (BMI) which had accumulated an extensive catalog of American composers including Charles Ives, Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber et al. Four years after that, having already owned by the Schirmer family for over one hundred years, Macmillan a major book publisher purchased the family business before selling it to its current owner, a Robert Wise in 1986 for US$7 million.
In the same year, Schirmer joined with the Hal Leonard Corporation, a print distributor of jazz and popular music, who is now the sole distributor of Schirmer’s printed music. Hal Leonard’s history has spanned equal years as a music publishing house today. One of its most recent print from the pop world include Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever songbook which contains fifteen songs from Eilish’s third studio album.
For the piano alone, the Schirmer’s Library consisting of the virtuoso exercises by Hanon and Czerny are still being widely used by teachers from all levels. Perhaps one of the most popular from the Library is the Sonatina Album, now in its 51st volume. Other composers whose works are still being printed by Schirmer include Chopin, Bach, Vivaldi, Schmitt, and many more.
Today, these amalgamation of masterworks continue to print for a worldwide distribution. For over 125 years, millions of musicians worldwide has played from the Library. Its value lies in its competitive pricing used with the utmost familiarity as the most-used editions in print history.
Its very first Virtual Music Education Summit in July brought together a powerhouse lineup of experts in the field to discuss topics including social-emotional learning, equity, diversity and inclusion, special needs, trauma-informed pedagogy, teacher health and wellness, student safety, and more.